Exoprimal Preview – Long-Term Storytelling – Game Informer

Exoprimal’s premise of time-traveling and power-blasting dinosaurs positions Exoprimal as one of the strangest multiplayer shooters on the horizon. Players got to sample the madness in a previous open beta, but the latest hands-on preview gave me a chance to peek at the game’s storytelling structure and customize it.

As a quick boot, Exoprimal tasks you and four other friends to team up to fight off waves of invading dinosaurs. Donning specialized outerwear, you’ll take apart Velociraptor, Triceratops, and mighty T-Rexes in a race to finish tasks before a rival group of players complete the same tasks. Similar to Overwatch, exosuits enhance certain roles and playstyles, such as different attackers, tanks, and healers. My favorite was the Zepher, a combat-focused speed suit that carries a sword. Players can switch suits at any time, allowing teams to change strategies to adapt to changing goals. In addition to taking on extinct predators, missions also put you in direct conflict with the other team, leading to firefights designed to sabotage each other’s progress.

The action is wild, and the plot isn’t too far behind. The story follows a small group of soldiers from the year 2040. You control an avatar tailor-made to help your squad leader, the ruthless and hilarious Lorenzo, and your teammates: Alders, the brazen brains of Operation, Majesty, the no-nonsense fighter, and Sandy, the crew’s robotic assistant. The cheesy banter, humor, and general atmosphere of a B-movie give me strong feelings of bi-field; Exoprimal knows it’s silly and doesn’t pretend to be anything else.

Cutscenes takes place between multiplayer matches (there is no traditional single-player campaign) and gradually tells a time-traveling plot where our team finds themselves teleported to a futuristic parallel reality in the future where they encounter alternate versions of themselves. The only way to find out how they stop the dinosaurs and save the Earth is by completing matches, which unlock new web-based scenes called the Analysis Map. This large flow chart has a single cinematic that begins with a circular outer edge and, when opened, opens connected scenes that weave towards what appears to be a finale in the center. Although I was able to unlock several cutscenes in a row after a few rounds, the nodes are numerous enough to suggest that you’ll need to spend hours playing matches to see how this wacky adventure ends.

You’ve also explored the Hangar, where you can customize exosuits with new cosmetic units and skins. Units are purchased with in-game currency when level requirements are met and can increase health, augment abilities, and alter their performance. You can equip up to three, with each slot having a specific type. Slot 1 contains the suit units, while slots 2 and 3 contain combat-focused action units. The more general base units fit into any slot, such as those that momentarily raise speed at very low health. These effects are upgraded by spending more currency, and you can equip the same unit across multiple exosuits. You can further customize the suit by equipping the Rig, a piece of equipment that adds a unique ability, such as a special attack or repair function. Conveniently, the suit can be set as a favorite, so you will automatically start wearing it.

I’ve played over a dozen games of Exoprimal at this point, and it’s still a fun and often chaotic time, especially alongside some good friends over chat. Although it plays exceptionally well, I’m still not sure if the game can maintain interest in the months following its release. The story will only keep players hooked for so long (if ever), so we’ll see if there’s enough meat on these petrified bones to keep players coming back for more.

Exoprimal arrives July 14th on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The game will also be available on Xbox Game Pass at launch.

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